Tabin Wildlife Reserve and Resort, Lahad Datu, Sabah

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I have often dreamt of going on a wildlife safari trip but have never had the opportunity until recently when I was fortunate to be invited to Lahad Datu, Sabah by Tourism Malaysia and also Sabah Tourism Board….

So we got on the plane and after a 2 hour 55 minutes flight by our trustworthy national carrier Malaysian Airlines, we landed at Tawau Airport…

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Then it was a 4 hour trip to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and it was just so worth it when we arrived there…

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is located at the eastern part of Sabah, Malaysia… It is said to be the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia, encompassing an area of approximately 300,000 acres in the centre of the Dent Peninsula, north-east of Lahad Datu town….

The entry point to Tabin wildlife reserve is Lahad Datu, a small town on the east coast of Sabah which can be reached by bus/private transport from Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Semporna as well as by plane from Kota Kinabalu.

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The Tabin Wildlife Resort is the only accommodation in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, which is an hour and 20 minutes drive in from the main road…

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The Tabin Wildlife Resort has 20 units of lodges. 10 units of river lodges and 10 units of hill lodges. Each of these beautiful lodges comes with a twin-bedded, double-bedded or triple bedded room with en-suite bathroom & hot-water shower, air conditioning, ceiling fan and private balcony overlooking hillside forest or the small Lipad river….

Once you arrive at Tabin Wildlife Resort, you will be assigned a tour guide who will bring you around and explain things to you… Since we were in a group of about 20 people, we were handed over to Paul and also Mawi who took care of us and who were also our guides… We were given waiver forms to signed before collecting our room keys…

I was fortunate to get to stay at one of the beautiful river lodge and it was just such an amazing feeling opening the doors to the sound of crickets and gibbons screeching as well as other interesting sounds…

Even far more mesmerising was the sight of hornbills flying in pairs far above us from one tree to another…

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Since we arrived pretty late, we were given time to freshen up before Mawi took us to the Tabin Visitor Centre to show us around the facilities as well as a taxidermied Borneo Rhinoceros which died of mouth cancer… We certainly learned a bit about the wildlife here… Before we headed for our dinner…

After dinner, we were divided into two groups and taken by makeshift safari trucks fitted with seats around the area for a night safari or well sighting night animals…

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It was pretty fun.. As our guides were a pro when it came to spotting animals.. We manage to spot flying squirrels, owls, flying lemurs, civet cat, and even the rare leopard cat for this outing…

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We headed back to our lodges exhausted but happy, washed up… and went to sleep.. It was easy to sleep as the beds were super comfy and cosy…

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Our day began with a little hike to the active Lipad mud volcano (which we were supposed to do in the afternoon except for the reason we arrived late)…

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This mud volcano provides a mineral salt lick for many animals, so along the way we could see some animal hoof/footprints… And even dung…

After about 700 metres of hiking through the woods with Paul, we arrived at a little  bare area of the mud volcano… Since we were told about how good and rich in minerals this volcanic mud was, and how it could mean a nicer complexion, some of us (yours truly especially) gingerly apply some from the bubbling source to our face and hands… Then the others in our group eventually followed suit…

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After a few minutes having fun with the mud, like cheeky kids, we trekked from the mud volcano back to the main road where our trucks were waiting for us to take us back to the resort.. Normally we would be able to go to the Lipad waterfall for a swim and to wash the mud off but since we were kind of hard pressed for time, we had to cancel that and head back to our lodges to get ready to check out…

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Packages at the Tabin Wildlife Resort normally consist of a 3D/2N stay and would include return transfers from Lahad Datu Airport (or so) to the lodge as well as accommodation, meals & guided trekking / safari activities….

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Tabin is said to have been around since 1984 and it has been declared a Wildlife Reserve because of the large number of animals inhabiting its forests, most of which are highly endangered…

The Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros, as well as the Leopard Cat can be found within the reserve as well as many other wildlife creatures…. And about  4 families of more than 300 species of birds can be found here…

The Wildlife Department of Sabah is the custodian of the animals in the reserve while the Forestry Department of Sabah is responsible for the trees in Tabin. The reserve is covered mainly with lowland dipterocarp forest…

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Tabin Wildlife Reserve is one of the best places in Sabah for thos who love to come close to nature and part-take in nature based activities, as there is quite a lot to do here in Tabin including jungle-trekking, night safari, night walk, wildlife-spotting, birdwatching and rainforest education…..

Am truly honoured to have been given the chance to visit this beautiful place and experience it even if just for a very short period of time… Hope to be back again for a longer and more relaxing visit…

What to bring: Binoculars, insect repellent, long sleeve shirts & long pants, raincoat, sun hat, comfortable trekking shoes, torch light, water bottle & personal toiletries..

Address – KM 49, Jalan Tungku, Lahad Datu, Sabah

Website -http://www.tabinwildlife.com.my

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